THANKS to star GuestPost author Luis for tackling the Year in Disgrace. Comments welcome; happy 2015!
Luis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.
2014, Year of Illusions by Luis M. Luque
Since the first time a false prophet persuaded a gullible pal to believe his lies, image management has dominated show business. The entertainment industry has always perpetrated one enormous lie after another. Magicians have never performed actual magic. Peddlers of life-saving elixers by necessity have always been fleet of foot and mendacious of mouth (not to mention good at math).
Actors, pop stars, politicians, televangelists, lawyers, agents, and advertisers are no different—con artists one and all. And yet, somewhere inside us, since the day we figured out the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, we have always known they are con artists, but we have never cared.
We always knew Michael Jackson’s relationships with women were as orchestrated as the New York Philharmonic. We knew Elizabeth Taylor was unfaithful, that wrestling was fake, the space ship wasn’t real, the angry stare before the boxing match was an act, “I don’t recall” and “mistakes were made” were ways to avoid responsibility, and “I won’t dignify that with a response” and “my private life is none of your business” were admissions. Still, we played along. The truth was we preferred the lie. We needed the lie. We want to believe in truth, beauty, integrity, selflessness, loyalty, intelligence, patriotism, justice, privacy, decency, compassion, and effortless grace. We want fiction. We don’t want to know about plastic surgery, Auto-Tune, green screens, PhotoShop, publicity stunts, rehearsals, memorization, study, staging, contracts, and nondisclosure agreements. We don’t want to hear that Britney Spears constantly lip synchs and really can’t sing in tune. She looks great, after all (under all the makeup and hair extensions). We don’t want to know that Renee Zellweger was getting so desperate for roles that she made her face unrecognizable. We don’t want to know that manic comic Robin Williams actually struggled with depression for decades. We don’t want to know that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found on the floor of his bathroom with a needle in his arm and heroin at the scene. We don’t want to know about black sites and torture and leaders who approve of monstrous behavior. The truth hurts. The truth is no fun. The truth is ugly. Give us the lie, the beautiful illusion. We want to smile, to laugh, to believe.
The problem is, these days, believing is getting harder. Every day we are confronted with leaked photos, leaked conversations, leaked videotapes, leaked documents, and a slew of nasty allegations. We want to believe the cops are there to protect and serve, but then we see them choke a man to death on a public sidewalk or shoot a boy playing in a public park. We want to believe Bill Cosby and Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable are the same person, that the lovable father and the hilarious stand-up comedian are incapable of doing anyone harm. We want to believe that no one would dare lie to a national magazine reporter about being gang-raped. Such a harrowing tale has to be true!
So, because I care about your mental health, dear reader, instead of the truth, I give you what you want, the Illusions of the Year:
- Everything about the photo of Kim Kardashian’s gigantic oiled butt on the cover of Paper magazine was 100 percent real.
- The nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Jessica Brown Findlay, Kaley Cuoco, and dozens of others—mostly women, but men, too—stolen from the Apple iCloud and posted across the Internet were fakes.
- Dick Cheney did not callously admit on Meet the Press that torturing and killing a few innocent prisoners was a small price to pay for making sure the United States remained safe from another terrorist attack.
- Regardless of what you might have seen or heard, Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback responded to a 911 call by buying Tamir Rice an Xbox first-person shooter game. They didn’t actually murder him within two seconds of arriving at the scene, as some inexplicably have suggested.
- Bill Cosby is a model citizen.
- Amy Pascal, the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and mega-producer Scott Rudin were only joking when they insulted President Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie, and others in recent e-mail exchanges that were hacked by a group calling themselves the Guardians of Peace.
- The Interview, an action-comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about a CIA plot to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, is sure to be a huge hit in North Korea.
- Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, was unjustly tried and convicted in the court of public opinion and is actually an all-around nice guy, not at all a racist or snob.
- Shia LeBeouf did not really wear a paper bag over his head with the message “I am not famous anymore” written on it when he appeared on the red carpet for the premiere of the movie Nymphomaniac at the Berlin Film Festival. Nor did he plagiarize a screenplay or plagiarize an apology for plagiarizing a screenplay. But he really did appear nude in the film, no body-double.
- Woody Allen continues to be a model dad.
- Iggy Azalea’s “blaccent” is genuine. Everyone born in Sydney, Australia, sounds just like her.
- Meghan Trainor’s “blaccent” is genuine. Everyone who grows up in Nantucket, Massachusetts, sounds just like her.
- Amanda Bynes is back to normal and will be working in Hollywood again soon.
- The list of Hollywood A-listers that Lindsay Lohan claims to have had sex with that was leaked on the Internet is, of course, fake.
- “Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Aaron Hernandez walk into a bar …” will never become the beginning of a bad joke about nonviolent NFL football players.
- Reality TV star Phil Robertson’s comments about race and homosexuality in the January issue of GQ magazine were not at all controversial.
- Ted Cruz has become everyone’s favorite senator. He’s loved on both sides of the aisle and has the best chance of becoming the next president.
- Ferguson, Missouri, will be voted Friendliest Town in America in 2015.
- Moderates in both political parties have taken charge, and as a result, 2014 saw the end of partisanship and the dawn of a new era of compromise and cooperation that will last well into the second half of the century.
- The marriage of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian will last forever.
photos: time.com, abc.com, people.com, GoogleImages